LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — For two days now, Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) has struggled to keep up with the demand for free meals.
A lack of food available at one of Loudoun County Public Schools' meal distribution sites prompted LCPS to offer a second meal kit pick-up on Tuesday at Leesburg Elementary School.
The meal kits, which include seven days of lunch and breakfast, will have a one-day meal distribution from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 28 while supplies last at Leesburg Elementary School.
On Tuesday, families that were turned away the day before, LCPS when out of food, arrived early at another chance of getting some meals.
LCPS received minor set backs with only 15 minutes into the distribution, they had no more food to give out. However, this time, they came prepared and brought back up.
An a hour later, a truck hauled additional meals to the site providing over 2,000 meals to families that attended the distribution.
LCPS told WUSA9 that every families had the opportunity to receive a meal. In the future, they plan to keep up with demand moving forward.
Hoyler said he was alerted around Monday morning that the Leesburg Elementary location had run out of meals within about 20 minutes.
On Monday, 20 families showed up at the Leesburg Elementary meal site for the first day of the summer distribution and were turned away because there weren’t enough meals to distribute, according to a spokesperson for LCPS.
“They were told that there was no communication from the school about what had happened and that people were waiting outside, but no one was outside to let them know that, hey, we did run out of food,” Andrew Hoyler, the Broad Run District representative for the Loudoun County School Board said.
A spokesperson for LCPS said 5,600 meals were prepared for the first day of the program, enough for 420 seven-day food packs. The spokesperson said more meals will be prepared in the future weeks now that they know the demand to expect.
“We're in a far different situation this summer when it comes to the economy and family's disposable incomes than we were last summer, and so the food issue now is more critical as it's ever been,” Hoyler said.
Hoyler said as soon as word got out in the community there weren’t enough meals local businesses and organizations jumped into action to try and help.
“It's very soothing to know that the community still cares about one another despite all the negativity that goes out there about Loudon about LCPS, we're still truly a great community that really really cares for one another,” Hoyler said.
Loudoun4All, a local advocacy group, organized its own meal pick-up Monday evening at Leesburg Elementary, hours after some families had been turned away at the same location because there weren't enough available meals.
“We've had a bunch of people come by. We have people taking food for other people in the neighborhood which is huge,” Amanda Bean, a board member for Loudoun4All said.
Loudoun4All guessed they would feed about 100 people based on the number of folks that stopped by Monday evening.
“No kid should be going to bed hungry, no person should be going to bed hungry. And I think we have some great resources in Loudoun, but the hard thing is if people are counting on one resource like the lunch distribution here when that doesn't happen, it's not always easy to switch to the other resources,” Bean said.
Bean and Hoyler said the school system’s under-estimated number of meal kits shows a heightened demand for meal assistance throughout the community.
“We have the reputation here in Loudoun on, you know people hear that we're the richest county in America and they think that this entire county is well off, and that couldn't be further from the truth,” Hoyler said.
LCPS meal kits can be picked up at Park View High School, Leesburg Elementary School, Rolling Ridge Elementary School, Sterling Elementary School, and Sugarland Elementary School on Mondays through August 8 between 9:30 and 11 a.m. while supplies last.